to Slovakia - A journey report by Grant Serpell
Katrin asked me to write about our last trip to Bad
Segeberg. Unfortunately, I was very busy at the time so I
let her down. However, our concerts on 27th and 28th June
were rather more interesting and maybe warrant a small
The trip started in a routine way with a flight to
Vienna, but things began to go wrong when we were met by
a man who spoke no English with a car that would hold us,
but not our baggage.
After much sign language and mime we managed to get a van
and driver to take the gear. Mark, our engineer, kindly
offered to accompany the gear and off we set for Steyr.
Well, not really. We had to brave the traffic of Ring and
Gurtel etc to pick up the representative of our agent.
This only took one and a half hours so now we were on our
way with six people in a small Opel (I believe was the
The driver had a unique style which included much use of
his mobile phone and the ability to steer at 145 kph with
just two fingers resting lightly on the wheel. I politely
asked if he minded holding onto the steering wheel, which
he did, but then decided to drive faster.
Henry asked him to slow down so he now limited his
performance to the inside and middle lane where he tried
to force any innocent offenders out of his way by driving
very close to them. The high spot of his repertoire in
this part of the journey was to use his mobile while we
were about two metres behind a Feurwehr vehicle.
We survived the motorway and then he came up with his
"piece de resistance" by changing down to
overtake while using his mobile -- I can only guess
at what piece of his anatomy he was steering with.
We at last reached Steyr and immediately requested that
we never see this man again.
We related the events to Mark, who was in the other
vehicle, expecting him to exude sympathy for us. Not the
case -- his driver, in the midst of a thunderstorm,
missed the exit for Steyr but still tried to turn off,
resulting in the van travelling sideways along the
motorway for about 200 metres. Afterwards he told Mark
that everything was OK as his God protected him -- he
failed to mention who was meant to protect Mark!
Great hotel, great crew, great gig -- about 3000 people
for a town festival.
We played for 85 minutes -- our second longest ever and
thoroughly enjoyed it.
On Saturday we drove to Slovakia with strict instructions
not to excede 120 kph.
Great hotel again in Piestany, right next to a
river, so I went fish spotting and saw a local man catch
a bream and I also saw some large barbel. -- I know this
is of no interest to you so I will spare you any info
about the golf course on the other side of the river.
The gig was about 20 minutes away and was called Topfest.
This was a typical rock festival with 20,000 young
In the dressing room there was a sheet showing who was
playing. It did not mention us but did show that SLAYER
At this point I must point out that about 4 1/2 years ago
we were booked to play in Salzburg but the gig was
cancelled. As it is such a lovely city we went
anyway and while walking around the city saw a poster for
the cancelled show. The interesting and relevant point is
that we were billed as SLAYER, a band in a slightly
different part of the musical spectrum.
Due to this previous experience I had a sudden dread that
we were to perform to 20,000 people who were expecting to
see Slayer and not SAILOR.
I quickly found the promoter who assured me that they had
played on the previous night and that the festival
included many types of band.
Anyway the gig was really great. A good reception and we
played for just over an hour.
If my language skills had been more sophisticated I would
love to have asked how 16 year old Slovakians react to a
64 year old man pretending to do a striptease.
On second thoughts, maybe I wouldn't.
We celebrated what we felt was a successful trip back at
I was poured a glass of red and when I tasted it I
thought that Mark had swapped it for a Jack Daniels and
Coke as it tasted so weird; but no, it was the red wine
from the dressing room.
Our best wishes to all our loyal fans out there in
SAILORland. Hope to see you all soon at a gig.
Grant Serpell (Schlagzeuger)
SAILOR on stage in Steyr (Austria) 27 June 2008
SAILOR on stage in Bratislava (Slovakia) 28 June 2008